Low Back Pain and Sciatica

A large percentage of people will experience back pain at some stage in their life; some sources suggest as many as 80%. For some people, chronic back pain can have a detrimental effect on their lifestyle. Back pain can often affect your ability to perform even the most simple daily tasks.

Numerous structures in your back can cause pain; muscles, nerves, ligaments, discs and bone could all contribute to your back pain, which is often experienced as a deep aching feeling in the lower back and is commonly exaggerated by movement or maintaining the same position for a prolonged period.

At Coffs Coast Osteopathy we strive to diagnose your injury, control your pain and facilitate a return to normal function as soon as is possible.

Acute back pain that occurs suddenly can be the result of trauma. This can be the result of any combination of bending, heavy lifting or twisting in a way that causes damage to the muscles, ligaments or joints of the back. Unfortunately acute back pain can also develop without any apparent cause and be just as painful. Chronic back pain may also occur over a prolonged period of time as a result of repetitive motions (RSI) that put stress on the back.

Common Injuries

  • Muscle strain: A muscle strain can result from poor posture or lifting excessive loads, causing muscle fatigue and back pain.
  • Poor posture: Poor posture can put unnecessary load on the various structures of the spine and result in back pain over time.
  • Disc bulge: Discs act like shock absorbers to reduce stress on your spine and are situated between your bony vertebrae. Disc injuries are common. They can occur due to sudden movements or from long term postural stress, causing inflammation and pain, and in extreme cases can irritate nearby spinal nerves. This can cause radiating leg pain, pins and needles, and numbness (often mistakenly diagnosed as Sciatica).
  • Facet joint sprain: Each of your vertebrae are connected to the one above and below by two joints named facet joints which can be sprained, just like your ankle, if you move in an awkward way. As with a sprained ankle, if the facet joints become inflamed, you will experience back pain and limitation in movements.
  • Sciatica: Sciatica is the Latin word for “pain down the back of the leg.” Sciatica is referred pain usually caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve in the lower back. The sciatic nerve runs from your lower back, down the back of your thigh and calf and into your foot. If compressed, the sciatic nerve can cause lower back pain which may radiate to the leg or buttock. It can also cause pins and needles, numbness, muscle spasms, reduced flexibility and weakness.

There are several more severe reasons for lower pain in the back such as disc injury, fracture, cancer and infection. Our osteopaths in Coffs Harbour, as primary health care practitioners, are trained to distinguish between uncomplicated pain in the back and back pain requiring referral to specialist carers.

Our highly trained osteopaths at Coffs Coast Osteopathy will determine the cause of your pain and put measures in place in an attempt to prevent recurrences. These may include but are not limited to:

  • Enhanced joint movement
  • Decreased muscle stress, inflammation, and nerve irritability
  • Improved blood supply and drainage to and from the spine and pelvis
  • Lowering duration of low back pain episodes
  • Helping avoid future episodes
  • Offering recommendations on posture, exercises, and stretching
  • Supplying suggestions on enhancing your ergonomic environment
  • Supplying guidance on diet plan, hydration, and workout
  • Communication and planning therapy with your general practitioner and insurer
  • Referral for radiological assessment when required.

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Dr Beau Halligan


Dr Madeleine Hastie




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